St. Stephen’s & Agnes has been running up big leads in games all year, using an athletic and long full-court press to force turnovers and rain points down on opponents. Even still, people at the VISAA Division I semi-final between the Saints and O’Connell were visibly shocked at what Mike Jones’ team did to the Knights.
Friday night in Petersburg the third-seeded Saints out-scored second-seeded O’Connell 31-6 in the second quarter to blow open a close game and advance to the Division I Final. The 78-46 win was an awesome and dominating performance where WCAC power O’Connell had trouble advancing the ball past half-court, much less putting it in the basket.
“We wanted to come out and play defense,” Jones said. “We hang our hat on the defensive end, we’re excited about playing d. Good things happen when you play d like that at a high level.”
The first quarter was close, with O’Connell leading 15-14 after one. Then, the wheels came off for Joe Wootten’s team. Saint Stephen’s & St. Agnes started making some shots, starting the quarter on a 9-0 run. Then, the Saints forced turnover after turnover with their full court press. When O’Connell did get a shot, it was often met by shot-blocker Charles Thompson, who dominated defensively in the lane.
Very quickly the 9-0 run became a 23-3 run with the Saints leading 37-18. At the half the Saints led 45-21 with the O’Connell players and fans looking shell-shocked.
To their credit the Knights never quit, but the deficit was too much to overcome. Senior forward Charlie Weber led O’Connell (20-13) with 18 points.
The heroes were many for Saint Stephen’s & St. Agnes (26-3), which got a total team effort to score the victory. Thompson, a Towson signee, finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds plus a ton of blocks and steals. Every time he got the ball inside the O’Connell coaching staff yelled “monster,” appropriate considering Thompson’s monstrous inside game.
Xavier Lipscomb and Jared Cross added 11 apiece for the Saints, which advance to play IAC rival Episcopal in today’s title game. The Maroon upset top-seeded Paul VI earlier on Friday.
“I feel like we haven’t been getting the respect we deserve,” Jones said. “As a whole I think the IAC is a really good conference.”
all stats are unofficial
|Threes: DePollar 2-6, Lipscomb 1-1, Meares 1-1, Cross 1-4, Howard 1-4, White 0-3|
|Threes: Dockery 3-10, Peterson 2-3, Weber 2-4, Banks 0-1, Gadsden 0-2, Freeman 0-3|